Humility. I thought I knew and understood what this word meant. The Lord has certainly been redefining this word for me, which has brought me to a more intimate relationship with Him.
I used to be convinced that humility was achieved after an incident or situation that led to feelings of embarrassment and feeling bad about myself. It equated to defeat in my mind. I am coming to learn that this is so opposite of what it really means to experience humility.
This last semester, my heart was in a very fragile place. I had lots of personal things going on in my life that ended up taking a big toll on me. From big transitions to changes in relationships to struggles with mental health, it proved to be a season of breaking, crushing, and purifying. I began to really struggle with depression and anxiety, both of which snuck their way into every aspect of my life. I did not feel like myself at all, and I couldn’t understand why. I also found myself isolated in my room most of the time.
As things got worse, I decided it was best to quit the band and the track team, which I was previously involved in at the college I attend. This situation was extremely difficult because I love people, I loved being involved with the band, and I loved being on the track team. They were all things I loved but also things I could not keep up with at the time. It began to feel like everything that was familiar and comfortable was being stripped from me.
I felt so defeated in every aspect; thus, I named it a humbling experience. I went through a portion of this time with the mindset of, “My life feels miserable right now, but that’s okay because I’ll just offer it up.” After a few weeks, I finally started questioning my disposition. “Doesn’t there have to be more to just offering it up? There is no way that the Lord desires me to be miserable.”I kept asking these questions in prayer, and they led to my skewed definition of humility. The Lord revealed that I was looking at humility through a lens of defeat because I was way more focused on myself than I was on him. I was putting everything I thought I had and everything I thought I was in the core of my heart instead of recognizing it as total gift from God. My eyes were fixed on the gifts and not the Giver.
As we take our eyes off of ourselves, we begin to become little. Becoming little has the potential to be a very painful thing when we are wrapped place our identities in what we do, what we have achieved, what others think of us, etc. It also leads to a very liberating way of life. The reality is the littler we become, the more room there is for God. As I began to embrace my littleness, He took up the room in my heart that had previously belonged to other people and worldly matters. Through His sheer goodness, power, and love, the weakest parts of my heart were revived to a strength that I, anyone, or anything could have never achieved.
Humility is not thinking less of yourself— it is thinking of yourself less.C.S. Lewis